Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo Becomes Only Openly Gay Male Top-Flight Pro Footballer

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

27 Oct 2021

A-League player Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the only current top-flight male professional footballer in the world to do so.

The 21-year-old, Adelaide United midfielder said in an emotional video that he had been “hiding who he is” and “living a double life.”

“I’m a footballer and I’m gay. All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.”

He added: “I’m tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life, it’s exhausting. I thought that people would think of me differently when they found out. They would start treating me differently.”

“They would start saying bad things about me or making fun out of me. That’s not the case. If anything, you would earn more respect from people.”

“Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before. I’ve lived my life assuming that this was a topic never to be spoken about.”

Thomas Hitzlsperger, the German former Aston Villa, West Ham & Wolfsburg player is among the most high profile but waited until the year after he retired in 2013 before coming out publicly. Former Leeds player Robbie Rogers also announced he was gay on retiring in 2013, 

Cavallo said he had been worried that coming out may negatively impact his career, adding that he knew there were other players “living in silence”.

“I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self,” he wrote. “It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

Assistant coach, Ross Aloisi, said: “Before Josh spoke with me, it was clear he was living with an incredible burden and unimaginable pain. To see Josh today, with that weight lifted off his shoulders, it makes me proud of how brave a man he is.”